BUYING Figure on about 11/2 pounds per person, which should provide enough for leftovers.
If dark meat is your thing, go for a heritage turkey. It will have a more balanced ratio of dark meat to white, and a more intense flavor. A tom turkey and a hen turkey taste the same. Toms are bigger.
DEFROSTING Keep the turkey chilled. Leave it in the original packaging, and place it on a tray in the refrigerator. Allow 24 hours of defrosting for each five pounds of turkey. To brine a partially frozen bird, defrost it in the refrigerator by submerging it in the brine for up to two days before cooking.
You don’t have to defrost a frozen turkey. The USDA says: “It is safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state. The cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer than recommended for a fully thawed turkey. Remember to remove the giblet packages during the cooking time. Remove carefully with tongs or a fork.”